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Home Administration employs 6,222 and lends money to and works with individual farmers themselves. The Farm Credit Administration, with 389 employees, supervises and serves 50 major banks and corporations, 1,663 local cooperative lending associations, and other farmer cooperatives.
The Forest Service manages 181 million acres of forest lands in the United States and Territories with 9,060 full-time employees, and cooperates with the State forest service agencies which employ about 9,800 persons.
The Soil Conservation Service with 11,736 employees provides technical services for over 2,200 State chartered soil-conservation districts.
The Production and Marketing Administration, employing 10,527 workers, carries out its multiple tasks through trade channels and through 32,000 committees on the county and community level.
These organizations suggest the magnitude of our agricultural setup. In fact, the Department of Agriculture employed a total of 55,294 full-time workers as of March 31, 1953. But what this picture does not reflect is that the Department of Agriculture supervises programs, carried out by workers cooperating or collaborating with the Department, whose total number of two and a half times as many as its direct employees. The number of indirect employees is around 137,000, including extension agents, employees of Federal land banks, banks for cooperatives, national farm loan associations, production credit associations, and PMA employees and committeemen.
Now, I know that you, Madam Chairman, and every member of this subcommittee, knows all of these facts. My only purpose in restating them is to emphasize that the Department of Agriculture is linked in many ways to other great State, local, and cooperative farm systems. It is to emphasize that, either directly or indirectly, the Department touches the daily lives of 6 million farmers and their families, and many town and city families as well. It is to emphasize that there are tremendous implications in this request for authority to reorganize the Department of Agriculture. These implications are so vast, and so vastly affect each Senator and Congressman and the people they represent that even if we were inclined to abdicate our our responsibility-to delegate to somebody else the difficult and disagreeable task of inspecting and approving reorganizationsbecause of the press of business, this is the one field in which we could not do that in good conscience.
The Department's agencies reach into every State, into every county, and into every community, not with just one of these programs, but with several. This is all to emphasize that, if in the future an effort were made by some Secretary of Agriculture to misuse this extensive administrative organization, the economic and political effects of such centralized authority as is proposed under plan No. 2 might well alter the traditional pattern of our national agriculture, without congressional sanction.
Moving from the organization of the Department, I think we should glance briefly at the nature of the Department's work. The important thing here, in my opinion, is that the Department conducts no mass operations. As a matter of fact, it would be difficult to point out any group of 100 employees doing the same work the same way under the same conditions at the same place. For example,
the Department has 9,434 FHA county supervisors, but each works in his own county or counties facing different soil, economic, social, and crop conditions. There are over 3,000 meat inspection personnel in the field, but they work in the plants of different companies at 1,000 separate establishments located in 365 different cities. There are about 750 forest rangers, but on the average there are 5 rangers to a forest. These groups are typical; 82 percent of the Department's workers are in the field. Few do the same work in the same place. Some 50,000 are dispersed to about 7,700 field offices with a total of about 11,000 mailing outlets.
The Department of Agriculture itself is an aggregation of professional, technical, and administrative personnel. The variety of skills required is reflected in the fact that its workers fall into an estimated 4,000 classes of positions.
Now, why are all of these facts significant? What bearing do they have on Reorganization Plan No. 2? Just this: It is a well-recognized principle that division of labor and specialization of task often result in mass operations easily susceptible to standardization, simplification, and resultant large economies. The sponsors of Reorganization Plan No. 2 claim that reductions in expenditures will result from reorganization of the Department of Agriculture made possible by the taking effect of Reorganization Plan No. 2. They admit, however, that such reductions cannot be itemized at this time.
I submit, on the other hand, that not a single dime will be saved through reorganizations of the Department of Agriculture. The Department has the specialization needed to effect large economies, but it does not have the finely divided tasks, each executed by a large number of workers. As a consequence, we have to face the fact that any large economies, or real reductions in expenditures, will have to be brought about by cuts in substantive programs and not by mere reorganizations. You just cannot reorganize one engineer at an isolated experimental station.
With regard to the setting in which this broad grant of authority to reorganize is requested, I think we should look, first, at the record of employment of the Department of Agriculture and, second, at current agricultural conditions.
It is important to note here that the Department is today approximately 38.2 percent smaller in total number of paid employees than in 1939. This is a fact little recognized. The number of employees on a full-time basis on March 31, 1953, was only 55,294, the lowest number since the early 1930's. Thus, we cannot realistically hope to accomplish too much toward reducing the number of personnel through reorganization alone.
Reorganization Plan No. 2, seeking authority to revamp agriculture without the inspection or approval of Congress, moreover, could not have been submitted at a time when the agricultural situation was more critical or when there was more uneasiness about farm prospects. Prices are way down. Farm real-estate values have taken a beating. Credit is hard to get. The export market for many of our basic crops is drying up. And--to make the situation worse—the Secretary himself has expressed considerable doubt as to the wisdom of a number of our basic farm policies-such as our conservation measures and price supports. Agricultural conditions are truly in a flux. We may ask ourselves whether this is the proper time for Congress to transfer its authority in reorganization matters to the Secretary of Agriculture. In this connection, I should like to quote Mr. John H. Davis, formerly of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and presently heading the commodity marketing and adjustment group of the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Davis, in testifying on Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1950, had this to say:
At the present time our basic agricultural policy is in more or less of a state of flux. The farm plan that will be the structure for the next several years is not definitely crystallized. There are various plans that are up for discussion, and it seems to us that it is very difficult and unwise to try to reorganize the Department until we know what kind of farm plan the Department is to carry out.
Now, bearing on his quotation, I would like to say that the Department is in the same condition today, plus the fact that the Secretary of Agriculture, before our Committee on Agriculture, time and time again, has not answered any questions regarding what plan or what. program or what supports or what controls he intends to have in the future after the present law goes out of existence.
Now, quoting further from Mr. John H. Davis
Senator DWORSHAK. Senator, would you indulge me for an interruption at that point?
Senator JOHNSTON. I would be glad to.
Senator DWORSHAK. Do you not think that that is the responsibility of Congress to outline any price-support programs beyond 1954 instead of putting the burden upon the Secretary?
Senator JOHNSTON. I think it is our duty and our obligation to again put price-support programs on the statute books. But I will also say that it is almost impossible for the Congress of the United States to put a program in force, and to make it truly effective, without the backing of the Secretary of Agriculture. I think the Senator will agree with me on that.
Senator DWORSHAK. Not entirely. I think that any sensible Secretary would comply with any legislative mandates of Congress, and that he could not afford to sabotage or withhold his cooperation even though that was his own personal desire.
Senator JOHNSTON. I will go even a step further than the Senator. I will say that he would have to carry out the law that we enacted. But the Secretary is the one who must give full time and attention to the agricultural field, and he should give us the benefit of his studies, in blazing the way for us to follow.
Senator DWORSHAK. And if possible, he is trying to do this through this reorganization plan?
Senator JOHNSTON. In this reorganization plan, as I see it, he has told us absolutely nothing. He has not told us what he is going to do in regard to it. If he would tell us something we could rely on, I would be willing to go along with him, although I voted against giving the President the right to send over his reorganization plans. I think that the procedure under the Reorganization Act is wrong. And the reason I voted the way I did, is that I saw in the past some of the reorganizations that were sent over, and I had to fight them, and some of them became law and some of them did not. But I do not think that department heads ought to send them over unless they let us
know something about the organization they are going to put into effect.
Now, quoting further from Mr. Davis:
I think we will know much more about the shape of our farm policy within a few months, and the reorganization should be geared to the evolving farm policy. So we do not think now is a good time for a reorganization to take place.
We feel further that Congress should assume the responsibility for the laying out of the general outline of organization at the time Congress lays out the general outline of basic farm policy.
If those words were true then, they are doubly true now. There has been a change in administration. The new Secretary and his official family have not reached conclusions upon farm programs or upon internal organization. Nothing could illustrate this better than an excerpt from an article dated April 23 by E. W. Keickhefer, farm editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, reporting on an interview of J. Earl Coke, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, by members of the Newspaper Farm Editors Association. It reads:
When a reporter pointed out the the President's advisers, the Secretary's advisory Committee, and members of the United States Department of Agriculture staff had reviewed the reorganization proposal and asked, "With all due respect, do you mean to say that if the proposal passes Congress nobody here knows what will happen?” Coke replied, “I suspect you are right."
Madam Chairman, I believe that these hearings will enable us to determine whether the authority requested is needed and desirable at this time. The Secretary of Agriculture and his advisers are presently engaged in a widespread examination of the entire agricultural situation, which may be focused into a specific study by Congress of what the long-range farm program should be, and I think that makes it especially imperative that we postpone Reorganization Plan No. 2 until we know the trends and purpose of the contemplated reorganization within the Department of Agriculture.
With regard to the nature of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953, I think that we can say that it is not a plan at all, with a few minor exceptions. In other words, this particular reorganization plan does not communicate to the Congress the essentials of what will eventually be the reorganization program for the Department of Agriculture. Instead, it possesses only a general framework and would propose to give blanket authority to the Secretary of Agriculture to reorganize his department subject to minimum limitations. This Reorganization Plan No. 2, therefore, is not a reorganization plan in the true sense of the word. Congress does not have before it a plan to inspect and analyze and appraise on its merits.
I would like to call to your attention that in some of the plans we have voted on they did send to us, at the time that the reorganization plans were sent down, a concrete program. If you will notice here sindicating a visual chart) in the Department of Health and Welfare they sent us an organizational chart, a grouping of what was going to take place if we approved the plan. That was in plan No. 1 of 1953, the outline.
If you will notice here (indicating a second visual chart) in this plan that was sent to us in January 1952, you will find that there is set out a detailed plan of what they were going to do at that time. You will find this on page 9 of the Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1952. I just call that to your attention. This plan, Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953, does not send a chart, a diagram, or anything.
Rather, we are requested to delegate Congress' authority to the Secretary of Agriculture and permit him to reorganize as he might choose without the Congress having any further control over it, or power to restrain it in the event we might not agree with the reorganization.
With regard to the extent and wisdom of this general power, I should again like to quote Mr. Davis, who is now head of the commodity marketing and adjustment group of the Department, when he was speaking in opposition to plan No. 4 of 1950.
We feel that (plan No. 4) leaves too much open to discretion and too much latitude for the people who are carrying it out.
The thing that we object to most is that plan 4 turns over to the Secretary the whole job of reorganization, and then it provides that if after experimentation with such plan that does not work, he is free to reorganize it again, as he sees fit.
We think that the task of organizing or reorganizing the Department is so basic for the welfare of the farmers and so much a part of the overall farm policy that that job ought to be done by the Congress.
We oppose plan No. 4 because it turns over the whole job of reorganizing and determining the center of emphasis within the Department to the Secretary.
Bear in mind, we may be able to trust our present Secretary of Agriculture, but we have no assurance as to whom we will have in the future.
At the same hearings, Mr. R. E. Short, then vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and now head of the Foreign Agricultural Service of the Department, stated:
Reorganization Plan No. 4 is really not a plan. A plan should have recommendations, framework, and structure. "Plan 4 does not have these. It is therefore not a plan. Reorganization plans are supposed to go into considerable detail, thus enabling the Congress to have some check on authority granted in the Reorganization Act. The statements by both Mr. Davis and Mr. Short were true then. They are, moreover, equally true about plan No. 2 today. It is therefore very perplexing to me that these two principal advisers of Secretary Benson would advise him to submit the same plan, warmed over, to Congress for reconsideration. I say that their conduct is very perplexing to me. That is true unless we are to assume that, now that they are the beneficiaries, the plan has gained a certain attractiveness that it did not have at that time.
Madam Chairman, I should like now to refer to the modification of my views which I mentioned in my opening remarks. The study by our Subcommittee on Federal Manpower Policies in the Department of Agriculture revealed that there was a real weakness in the management of the Department. Our examination revealed that the basic programs of the Department were keeping the Secretary and his two principal assistants so busy that they did not have sufficient time to handle properly the administrative side of the Department. Therefore, I should like to go on record now as favoring an Administrative Assistant Secretary and at least one additional Assistant Secretary to help Mr. Benson with the workload of his official duties. I firmly believe that such additional assistance is badly needed and I am most anxious to provide Mr. Benson with any help that he might need in carrying on the complex program for the benefit of our farmers.
In this connection, Madam Chairman, I have a letter which I addressed to Secretary Benson on March 28, 1953, relative to the need for these assistants and, also, his reply of April 20, 1953. I should